Quantcast

NOAA Scientist Creates New Way to Track Carbon Pollution

Climate

By Daniel Grossman

A new air sampling device may help scientists better track carbon pollution in the atmosphere. Listen here or read below:

As countries around the world commit to reducing emissions, measuring their carbon pollution is critical to tracking progress. Pieter Tans is a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and he's invented a tool that might help.

The AirCore is a patented air sampling device that at first seems improbably simple: a steel tube—500 feet long and as thick as a chopstick—coiled up like a hose and sent into the stratosphere by helium balloon.

AirCore. Photo credit: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory

At roughly a 100,000 feet, the balloon pops. Then a parachute deploys, slowing the AirCore's descent while it gathers samples from nearly every layer of the atmosphere.

"That's what AirCore does: we bring back the physical sample of a very long sliver of air all the way from nearly the very top of the atmosphere to the ground, and we put that through calibrated instruments," Tans said. "So we produce calibrated measurements."

Tans says it's this continuous air sample that makes AirCore more precise than satellites and ground-based instruments.

It's not yet ready for commercial use, but AirCore's simple design and accuracy may make it a more affordable and effective way to track global emissions of carbon dioxide.

Reporting credit: Justin Bull/ChavoBart Digital Media.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Interactive Map Sheds Light on Potential Impact of Paris Climate Agreement

Danger, Will Robinson: Oil Industry Knew CO2-Climate Link in '68

Consensus on Consensus: 97% of the World's Climate Scientists Say Humans Are Causing Climate Change

Greenland's Ice Melt Breaks Record, Starting Nearly Two Months Early

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less

Mitshu / E+ / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism is a way of living that tries to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty.

Read More Show Less

6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A federal judge ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration must begin implementing regulations for the many types of e-cigarettes now on the market in the U.S.

Read More Show Less